I just finished my first week of daily painting in 2015!
My initial idea was to create a painting on 4×6 inch paper each day and call the project 4x6x365. After thinking about it, I adjusted my idea and thought it would be better to work a little larger on 6×8 inch paper. I sat down on January 1st with a few sheets of paper in various sizes, and I was surprised to find it challenging to “complete” a 6×8 painting, but I had several 4×6 paintings that looked finished to me. So I switched my challenge back to the 4×6 idea, and I’ve been going strong since.
I’ve already explored quite a few new tools and techniques. I worked with bristle brushes, a brayer, and palette knives. I painted opaquely and translucently. I did a lot of layering and lifting of colors, achieving subtle effects.
I played around a bit with adding pencil marks after the painting part was finished. I like the level of interest it adds.
I felt quite bold when I made the black swish in the above painting. I had the idea for it, and had to go for it!
After an initial touch of resistance and a feeling of overwhelm of what this project would look like for the whole year, I started this first week by giving myself permission to make anything I wanted. There’s a looseness and complexity from all the layers and brush textures that surprises me. It’s maybe not what I had in mind, but that’s really part of the fun!
I’ve been cleaning up my studio in preparation for a new year of art making, and when I came across a stack of paintings that I’ve made throughout the year, I thought it would be fun to tape some of them them up on the wall and take a look.
This group of art shows a variety of the different ideas and mediums I explored throughout the year. There was a lot of watercolor, paint pen, acrylic, gouache, pencil and markers. I worked on watercolor paper, loose printer paper, and even index cards.
There was a LOT of art that didn’t make it up on the wall: more art on loose paper, but also a ton of work in sketchbooks. In 2013 I filled 14 sketchbooks with artwork, and while I don’t have the final numbers for this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was close to that! My plan is to round them up, film some flip-throughs and put together a post about them soon.
I’m sure the sketchbookery will continue in 2015, but I also plan to do a lot more art out of my sketchbooks. I really want to focus on created finished works on paper, panel or canvas in the coming year.
To help with this goal, I’ve devised a daily challenge for myself. Basically I’ll be creating one painting for every day of the year! I’m still not 100% sure about all the details, but I think I’ll decide on a particular size somewhere between 4×6 and 6×8 and take it from there. More info on that project is coming soon.
Here’s to lots of creativity in the coming year!
I recently got a great deal on some Golden acrylics, and I’ve been having fun trying them out.
I’d been working regularly with watercolor before getting these new paints, and switching between the two is always a bit of a challenge until I get the feel for it again.
When I got back into watercolor a few months ago, I found myself laying it on way too thick and wanting to layer it. Now that I’ve gotten used to watercolor, my initial acrylic efforts were getting kind of muddy until I “remembered” the magic of layering.
After a few layers of paint, I had a somewhat muddy dark gray surface with light speckles. I wasn’t too impressed at first, but coming back to my art table after a break and taking another look, the speckled surface reminded me of cactus prickles. I ran with the idea!
I drew the outline of the cactus shape (you can see pencil lines where the segments meet) on the page, and then painted around the edges with a layer of purple and then blue. For those two layers I thinned out the paint and painted it thickly in sections, then dabbed it off with a paper towel before it could completely dry. That technique allows you to see through to the speckled layer, as well as the lighter purple layer under the ultramarine blue. It also gives the piece the vibrant luminous color that it needed.
The final touch was adding red cactus blossoms here and there.
Not only was I trying out paint, but I was also trying out different sizes of paper. I’ve been contemplating another year-long daily project, and one of my thoughts was to work on a specific size of paper. This one is 5×7 which feels pretty good to me, but I’m also trying out 4×6 and 6×8.
Are you considering a year-long project for 2015? I’ve also been thinking about working with a time limit, or possibly working digitally, but I still haven’t decided. I would love to hear what you have planned for the new year!
It’s time to celebrate! Monday I wrote about the very first class I’ll be teaching online, Passion for Patterns, as part of the 21 Secrets art journaling workshop. This will be a totally new endeavor for me, not to mention a milestone, so I’d like to do something special for everyone.
To share my enthusiasm for this new experience, I drew a festive pattern and added a phrase that sums up the tone of my workshop, and also kind of my life’s philosophy.
I would love to share with you a free printable version of this encouraging message!
All you have to do is:
- Visit the 21 Secrets Spring 2015 workshop page by clicking on this link and check out the workshop descriptions.
- Comment here with any class title other than mine that looks especially fun to you.
- Be sure to include your best email when you fill out the form and write your comment so I can send you your print.
Once I receive your comment, I’ll use the email you provided to send you a free digital copy of the “Create and be Happy” print.
The file you get will be high resolution and printable up to 5×7 inches, so it’ll be easy to pop into a standard size frame, or you can hang it up poster style like I did with a couple of pieces of washi tape. You could even paste it into your current sketchbook or art journal!
The email you provide when you fill out your comment will not be shared on this site at all. However, if you prefer, you can also email me directly if you’d rather not comment here or don’t want to leave your email with your comment. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will happily send you a copy of the print.
Also to be clear, you do not have to sign up for the e-course in order to get this free print. I only ask that you go check out the 21 Secrets Spring 2015 class page, because it’s a great way to see the details of the class I’m teaching, plus, it’s a chance to browse all the classes and learn about 21 creative folks you might not be familiar with yet.
I hope you will enjoy this print and that it can add a bit of color and inspiration to your creative space!
I’m so excited that I can finally tell you: I’m a 21 Secrets Teacher!
Can you spot my pattern in the image above? Hint: it has a blue background!
If you’ve never heard of 21 Secrets, to sum it up, I’ll be one of 21 teachers sharing an art journaling “secret” in a big online group e-course. My part of the course will be a workshop called, “Passion for Patterns”. If you want to find out more, check out the details on the 21 Secrets website.
Registration starts today, although you’ll have to wait until April 1, 2015 to take Passion for Patterns, since that’s when the class actually starts.
If you think you might be interested in signing up for the course, I do want to let you know that during the pre-sale that starts today, they have some great deals going on. The first 150 people to sign up get the class for just $69 which is almost $30 off! The next 150 can get the class for $79, and the next $89, after which the full price is available at $98 which is still a steal at less than $5 per individual workshop!
I’ve been wanting to teach an online class for a while now, and I’m so happy to be able to make my debut alongside a wonderful group of fellow creatives.
I would love for you to check out the 21 Secrets workshop page and tell me what you think. My workshop is the very first one in the list (thanks to my name starting with A!), so it will be easy to find the description for Passion for Patterns. I have a lot of really fun plans for my class, and I’d be totally thrilled if you decide to take the workshops and have a 21 Secrets journey with me!
One more thing I want to be upfront about is that all the links that I’m sharing that go to the 21 Secrets page are affiliate links. If you use them when signing up, I really appreciate it since I get a percentage of the sale, which is how I get paid for my workshop! If you plan to register, I’d be very happy if you chose to use my link.
My friend Liz Nugent recently gave me the coolest pad of paper. I just love it. The paper quality isn’t the best and there are lines across it (which I tend to avoid), but it sparked a bunch of creative ideas for both me and Liz because: It’s really long and skinny.
I couldn’t wait to let my mind wander and doodles some shapes.
Here are several drawings of dragons by Liz on the same paper:
Aren’t they the cutest!? Here are some plants by Liz too:
If you’re curious, the dimensions of the paper are 1.75″ x 11″. It’s amazing how such a simple change, like using an unusual sized paper can inspire so many new ideas. Now I’m thinking of all those scraps I’ve tossed over the years from cutting down paper. If only I’d known! I’ll certainly be keeping them in the future.
Liz is a wonderful illustrator who I’m honored to call a friend. If you want to check out more of her work, please visit Liz’s website or say hi to Liz on twitter!
I can’t tell you the details just yet, but for now I can say that I’m very excited about it and it’s going to be a lot of fun!
Stay tuned next Monday, November 17, when I can finally spill the beans!
Here is a bunch of my Inktober patterns from throughout the month in a grid:
Here are a few individual drawings from the second half of the month:
They make a bold impression, don’t you think?
I’m planning to put together a group of repeat patterns based on these sketches. There are a few that I’m just dying to see in color!
If you read my post from yesterday, you’ll know I was excited to find out that you can embed photos directly from instagram.
As with many things, even if you can, it’s good to find out if you should.
My friend Robyn emailed me with some really important feedback. While browsing her Feedly feed, she noticed that when she saw my post, she couldn’t see the image. Since I specifically talked about including an image, she knew it was probably there, so she clicked over to my site. I was curious, so I checked my Bloglovin feed, and also noticed that no photo showed up in the preview. For anyone who follows me with Feedly, Bloglovin, and probably other RSS feeds, they might not have the same incentive to click through without seeing a preview of the image in their feed.
For me this is a deal breaker, so for now I’ll stick to uploading photos to Flickr and linking them from there.
Here’s the same image from yesterday, linked from Flickr, in case you missed it:
It looks a lot better than the embedded instagram photo anyway!
It’s good to try out new things, but it’s even better to find out what really works best! Thank you Robyn!
Today’s internet meanderings led me to find out that you can embed Instagram images into a website or blog (click here for simpler directions)! I’ve been embedding images from Flickr for a long time, and I’m excited about being able to do this for Instagram as well, especially since I’ve been thinking about featuring other instagram accounts/photos that inspire me.
Here’s a recent watercolor doodle from Instagram:
I don’t know how long this feature has been available, but it was a great discovery for me. Although I don’t think I’ll regularly use this tool to share my own photos (not crazy about the border and the text around the image), I think it’s perfect for featuring other Instagram users since their account will be automatically linked and the “follow” button is included.
There is an option that allows you to either include or leave out the caption, which I also appreciate. It’s good to have a choice!
Are you as excited about this capability as I am? Do you think you might embed some IG photos on your blog or site?